While there are many "do's" to follow when applying for jobs, there can be just as many “don’ts.” Avoiding mistakes that many young professionals make during the application process can be just as critical as having a strong resume or interview. By following these application tips you’ll help potential employers see you in the most professional light and keep you in the running for landing that first great job.
Grammar and Typos on Your Resume
Give yourself the best chance at getting the job by ensuring your written documentation is absolutely flawless. Your resume and cover letter or email is the first impression that a prospective employer will get from you. Think of it as your "store front." It should be eye-catching, informative, and concise. Fundamentally, it should not contain bad grammar or spelling mistakes. Using the spelling and grammar checkers in word processing programs are a start, but nothing is better than careful proofreading. Get a friend or family member to read it, too as often they will notice things that you would not.
Even if you know that your prospective employer has a casual dress code in the office, one of the most important tips you can get is to dress professionally. Interviewers perceive how you dress for an interview as a cue to your professionalism, preparation, and common sense. No jeans, shorts, or short skirts, and not too much cleavage! Men can't go wrong with a suit and tie, and women will do well in a professional skirt suit or pant suit.
Pay and Benefits
During your initial interview, you will undoubtedly be asked if you have any questions. Make those questions relevant to the company and job for which you are applying. Do not ask about pay and benefits. These are important, but should be left until later in the interview process.
Though rejection is difficult, never burn your bridges with an employer that turns you down. There is well-known story about a young man who was unsuccessful after his first interview. On hearing the news, he shot back an email saying "your loss." The employer responded by advising him that they would shortly be opening several more roles and advising him not to apply. Being turned down is disheartening, but a polite "thank you," a request for constructive feedback, and a request to keep your details in mind should further opportunities arise leaves a prospective employer in no doubt of your professionalism and enthusiasm for their company.
No Phone, No iPod, No Food
It is important to set a professional image from the minute you walk into the building. Do not walk in talking on your mobile, listening to music, or eating. These may seem like trivial issues, but more than one employer has turned down an applicant for not taking the interview seriously or treating it as the lead up to the "actual interview." Keep in mind that the person at the front desk is an employee too, and often times hiring managers will ask the front desk what they thought of the candidate as the candidates will often be much less filtered and sometimes even rude.
Lying on Your resume
It should be understood that this is big no-no, and it goes for your social media profiles as well as your resume. Employers check into their prospective employees, and that often includes viewing profiles on sites like Linked In and Facebook. As far as application tips go, this one is the most important.
Another often-overlooked area that job hunters should be aware of is having inappropriate photos or comments on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. More and more employers are researching candidates via their social networks, so make the best use of these networks by projecting the image of a good potential employee.